Climate Watch

Stop The Talk, Take Action

Climate change has been a hot-button issue for years.
27 Nov 2022 19:48
Stop The Talk, Take Action
A gabion seawall at Vabewa Village in Yasawa is built to protect sand erosion. Photo: Supplied

Climate change has been a hot-button issue for years.

Many global leaders have had their say about climate change at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt from No­vember 6 to 18.

But little action has been taken to address the greatest challenges small island states like Fiji are facing. Severe cyclones continue to batter the country, almost every year. In February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, killing 44 people and causing $1.4 billion of damage, a third of Fiji’s gross do­mestic product.

Two to three cyclones are likely to pass through the country’s exclu­sive economic zone during the sea­son. Fiji’s cyclone season is from November to April.

Minister for Meteorological Ser­vices Jone Usamate, while urging the public to prepare, said one to two severe tropical cyclones were likely to affect Fiji during the cy­clone season.

Mr Usamate said five to seven Tropical cyclones were likely to af­fect the regional specialised mete­orological region.

“In Fiji, flooding alone continues to be one of the leading causes of death during any cyclonic events,” the minister said.

“Data released by the Fiji Police Force revealed that between 2017 and August 2021, 17 people had drowned during an event of natu­ral disasters.

“Majority of these incidents in­volved people being swept away by strong currents while trying to cross flooded rivers, creeks, and ar­eas.”

The rise in sea level is also one of the greatest challenges Fiji is facing. According to the climate change index, Fiji is amongst the five of the 15 countries most at risk from weather-related events in the Pacific. Fiji is number 14.

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